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THE LEAGUE OF NATIONS
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By: Howard Goldin
Bronx, NY---For the second time (2008, 2013) in the last 19 years, the Yankees were eliminated from the post-season before it began. Wednesday night’s loss to Tampa and the Cleveland victory over the Chicago White Sox mathematically eliminated the Yankees from a role in the playoffs. The elimination was the first at home since 1991.
The batting heroics of several members of the Rays contributed mightily to Tampa’s 11th victory in 18 games with the Yankees. In the first frame, rookie Wll Myers doubled with one out and scored on an RBI double by “road warrior’ James Loney.
Loney doubled in the third and singled in the sixth and was driven in by third sacker Evan Longoria both times.
In the third, Longoria scored on a sacrifice fly by Matt Joyce. He scored twice more via the four-bagger. In the sixth, Longoria smacked a 1-2 pitch into the left field stands to score three runs. After not homering for 29 straight games, the slugger belted his 31st home run of the season to lead-off the ninth.
Brooklyn native David DeJesus, happy to be back in the city of his birth, hit safely three times during the contest. DeJesus’s third hit of the game was a first pitch home run that came immediately after the homer of Longoria in the sixth.
The batting success of each of the players was no surprise to anyone following their statistics. Myers was called to the majors on June 18. His presence on the Rays since that date has been phenomenal. The Rays mark since June 18 has been 53-36, but before Myers joined the club, the Rays were only 36-33.
Longoria flexes his muscles whenever the Rays play against the Yanks. In the 18 games this year, Longoria is batting .333 with 9 home runs and 17 RBI. Since 2008, he paces the majors with 25 round trippers against New York.
Loney, for whatever reason, is exceptionally effective when the Rays are on the road. He leads the majors with a .355 (92 for 259) road batting mark, more than 100 points higher than his batting average at home. Going 3 for 4 on Wednesday, the first baseman has raised his batting average in the Bronx to over .400.
Not being in the playoffs is an unusual occurrence for a New York Yankee club. After the contest concluded the clubhouse was somber and the mood downbeat. Manager Joe Girardi did not use the many injuries to key personnel as an excuse, “We didn’t get to where we wanted to be. I don’t think we played as well as we should.”
Girardi was adamant that he would play his best lineup in the remaining four games, “We have a responsibility to baseball and I take that very seriously. The way you play these next four games tells who you are as a person.”
The final game with Tampa and the final game in Yankee Stadium in 2013 on Thursday evening will see two fine, young, right-handers on the mound, Ivan Nova (9-5) versus Alex Cobb (10-3).